As a spouse or child of a parent with dementia, it is widely recognized that this condition affects far more than just the person with dementia. Dementia does not have any boundaries when it comes to individuals or family members. While it affects one individual mentally and physically, it tends to reach beyond to family, friends and other caregivers emotionally.
Dementia is a term used to describe an array of symptoms including: memory loss, confusion, agitation, and difficulty with communication. Dementia affects a person’s reasoning, judgment, and even visual perception. As this condition impacts daily activities, oftentimes a spouse, family member or caregiver must step in to help.
As a caregiver, supportive family member, or friend, it is important to treat people with dementia with the same love, care, and respect they have always felt. It is sometimes easy to get frustrated and depressed when you see a loved one struggling with this condition, but you have to remember that your elderly spouse, sibling, parent or friend needs you now, more than ever, to help navigate through this challenging and oftentimes scary period.
Dementia Care Tips:
If you are serving as a caregiver for someone with dementia, there are things you can do to make your experience a little easier. Here are some dementia care tips to try when you are spending time with a loved one that has dementia:
Always remember to stay patient, calm, and understanding with your loved one. It is easy to get frustrated when this condition begins to worsen or change and you find yourself repeating the same answers to the same questions or dealing with the same forgetful tendencies at every visit. Try and lean on others for support and take time for yourself. If you begin to feel like you are going to snap, go for a walk, take a bath, or call a supportive friend. It is easy to feel like you have to be the greatest caregiver for your family member, but be satisfied by doing the best you can.
Staying busy is very important for everyone suffering from and also dealing with dementia. Try playing games together. It is helpful if you can keeKeeping his or her mind focused is a great way to improve brain health and it can also relieve the stress of caregiving by presenting a fun distraction. Try exercises or games that involve strategy and problem solving as these are best for brain health.
Focus on the Good Days
With this condition, there are some good days and then there are some bad days. Remember that dementia is a constant battle and at the time there is no cure. As a caregiver it is easy to see regression as failure, but that is not always the case. Every day is not given or known, so take the good days and celebrate. On the bad days, be thankful that you are able to care for your loved one.
Stick to Schedules
As a family caregiver, schedules can be very helpful for the caregiver and the person suffering from dementia. Try keeping meals, sleep schedules, and daily activities regular. Routines are known to help those with memory issues because they are used to a predictable schedule. Remember, life is not 100% predictable and it is okay if something comes along throughout the day that may throw your schedule off. For family members dealing with dementia, it is really just about love and care.
Know When to Seek Help
If you are the only caregiver for your family member suffering from dementia, it can become overwhelming. Sometimes caregivers feel like they are losing their own life in the process. While caregiving is your responsibility, do not let it run your life. It is okay to reach out for help and ask other family members for assistance. You can also join a support group or hire help. It is not admitting defeat when you ask for help.
Caring for a family member or friend with dementia is not an easy task. This condition causes mental and physical health issues that can affect the caregivers as much as the person with dementia. There is no perfect caregiver, especially when it comes to taking care of family members. Remember to try to stay patient, calm, and happy – both with yourself and with the person you are caring for. Refer to these dementia care tips any time you need help or a reminder on ways to make caregiving for your loved one easier.
Though caregiving requires you to take care of someone else, it doesn’t mean you should neglect your own self-care. For more information about caregiving for people with dementia, including dementia care tips and home care services, give All Best Home Care a call at (502) 456-2273.